Shapps is keeping steady guard of the Tory fortress – although it may not look it at first glance. Last week the Conservative Party chairman seemed to claim that Cameron wanted to do the TV debates – come on the lot of you, let’s see what you’re made of. All right, I’m exaggerating slightly, but not much. Then on Friday he ruled out any post-election deal with Farage’s bunch.
“I can rule out – we are not going to do pacts and deals with Ukip,” he said when pressed on the topic. I just want to take a moment to say that Grant Shapps has taken a lot of shit over the years, but I’m nailing my colours to the mast here and saying I actually kind of like the guy. In an age of equivocation, Shapps just tells it like he sees it.
“Are you going to campaign for “In” if there’s an EU referendum?” I would ask if I were to interview him, as he just might turn around and say in response:
“Sure, why not?”
Would he actually say this? Again, probably not, but the thing I like about Shapps is, you never know. He goes with his gut, so it depends on what he ate for breakfast that particular day.
Having said all of that, Shapps should not have been left to field this question all by his lonesome, particularly this deep into an election campaign anyhow. The possibility of a UKIP pact should have been ruled out unequivocally a very long time ago by Cameron (so more pats on the back for Grant from me therefore, as taking on the shit the leadership should be facing always earns extra brownie points in my book). UKIP are to the Conservative Party what Ebola is to the human immune system. Which is why Tory MP flirtation with them suggests a certain level of necromancy within Britain’s oldest political party.
“The obvious answer is for the Tories and Ukip to do a pre-Election deal,” Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote for the Daily Mail a few months back. Yes it is, Jacob. If you want to destroy the Conservative Party politically for several decades at the very least, that is. I’ve written about this elsewhere plenty, so I’ll try and keep it brief. The people who vote Tory in places which decide whether or not the Conservative Party remain the largest party in the House of Commons , or indeed gain a majority, i.e. these swing voters you hear so much about who are crucial within our great/shit (however you wish to see it) First Past the Post voting system, are the kind of people who hate UKIP. Who would do absolutely anything to keep UKIP out. Vote for anyone. Monster Raving Loony Party even, if they thought that would save them from Farage’s feral beasts.
These are the silent Tories I wrote about before, you’ll recall, the type of people who don’t really like the Conservative Party much, see themselves as liberals, really, but will quietly vote Tory because they are terrified their taxes will go up, their house prices down. Do you really want to slap them awake and say, “Do you realise that a vote for the Tories is really just a vote for UKIP!” and then get them to put an x beside “whatever Labour candidate is standing in their constituency” as a result? Then formalise your UKIP pact, Mr Rees-Mogg. Because then it’s curtains for you all, and all us non-Tories throughout the country, be they liberal, socialist or whatever the hell the Greens are, can have a mighty chuckle at your downfall.
All of this is of course why the Tories haven’t done some sort of idiotic, self-destructive election pact with UKIP in the first place. As yet, anyhow. There’s still just enough time for Rees-Mogg powered stupidity to win the day within Tory circles. But you’ll have to get past Grant Shapps first. Go for it, Jacob, I dare you.